As American football continues to expand its horizons, more opportunities to play abroad will be pursued. Case in point: Penn State and Central Florida will open their 2014-15 campaigns in Dublin on Aug. 30, 2014, per Josh Moyer of Nittany Nation.
According to the Irish Times, the game's organizers believe it will add perhaps another €100 million (the estimated amount the last college football game in Ireland added) to the Irish economy, as well as boosting the recent growth in American visitors.
It's a great way not only to expand American football to other countries around the world, but also to assist other countries in tough economic times. It's a partnership many hope will last moving forward and, frankly, should.
There's no reason not to continue reaching out to the world as American football flourishes in the United States.
The game between Penn State and UCF will be played at Croke Park, which has the capacity to hold 69,000 fans. It's already been given a name: "The Croke Park Classic." It's this kind of buzz that organizers in college football and the NFL have just started to really capitalize on.
Penn State and UCF were rather logical considerations for Dublin, considering Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien and Knights coach George O'Leary both have familial ties to Ireland.
O'Leary said after the news on Sunday, via Mark Brennan of Fight On State on Scout.com: "On a personal level, obviously Coach O'Brien and I are both of Irish heritage, so it means a great deal to both of us to be in a position to bring our teams here."
As Dan Wolken of USA Today Sports noted:
Per @UCFSports today's official announcement of UCF-Penn State game in Dublin for 2014 is George O'Leary's first trip to Ireland.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) July 14, 2013
Do you like the idea of college football expanding to different countries?
Not only will the word be spread via television, but programs like Penn State and UCF are sure to add to the buzz. Coaches, players and staff members will come back from their trip with all kinds of stories to tell.
American football may be the most popular sport in the United States, but there's no question more efforts are being made to boost its popularity throughout the world. For a sport that is already widely popular in America, it's hard to imagine what games like these could do for American football on a grand scale.